Bible Study Guides – The Eastern Question

November 20, 2004 – November 26, 2004

Memory Verse

“And now will I shew thee the truth . . . .” Daniel 11:2.

Suggested Reading: Stephen N. Haskell, Story of Daniel the Prophet, (1904), TEACH Services, Inc., Brushton, New York, 1995, 179–217.


“Who reads the warnings given by the fast-fulfilling signs of the times? What impression is made upon worldlings? What change is seen in their attitude? No more than was seen in the attitude of the inhabitants of the Noachian world. Absorbed in worldly business and pleasure, the antediluvians ‘knew not until the Flood came, and took them all away.’ Matthew 24:39. They had heaven-sent warnings, but they refused to listen. And today the world, utterly regardless of the warning voice of God, is hurrying on to eternal ruin.

“The world is stirred with the spirit of war. The prophecy of the eleventh chapter of Daniel has nearly reached its complete fulfillment. Soon the scenes of trouble spoken of in the prophecies will take place.” Testimonies, vol. 9, 14.

1 Whom does Gabriel say he stood to confirm and strengthen? When? Daniel 11:1.

note: “The first two verses of the eleventh chapter of Daniel outline the history of the second kingdom, Medo-Persia. That portion of the chapter included in verses three to thirteen records the history of the third kingdom, Greece. Those things which are ‘noted in the Scripture of truth’ concerning Greece are the things which Gabriel made known to Daniel. The prophet had found it difficult to grasp the full significance of the symbols used in previous visions to represent the kingdoms of the world, and so in this last interview between the servant of God and the angel of prophecy, symbols are laid aside, and the history is repeated in plain language.” Stephen N. Haskell, Story of Daniel the Prophet (1904), TEACH Services, Inc., Brushton, New York, 1995, 179.

2 What did Gabriel say he would show Daniel? How many kings did he say would yet reign in Persia? How did he say the fourth king would compare with the others? What did he say this fourth king would accomplish? Daniel 11:2.

note: “Cyrus died in the year b.c. 529, and was succeeded by his son, Cambyses, who reigned seven years. Cambyses was succeeded by Smerdis, an impostor, who reigned but eight months, being succeeded in b.c. 521 by Darius Hystaspes. Darius Hystaspes reigned thirty-six years, and was succeeded by Xerxes in the year b.c. 485. Xerxes, by his strength and through his riches, did stir up all against the realm of Grecia. He collected the most numerous army ever marshaled for war, estimated by careful historians to have numbered 2,641,610 fighting men, with an equal number of attendants, making a total of 5,283,220. This army was seven days and seven nights crossing the Dardanelles, on two immense bridges of boats built for the purpose. Xerxes was the last of the Persian monarchs who invaded Grecia; therefore the prophecy takes no note of his eight successors, but passes, as we shall see, in the third verse to the empire of Grecia.” International Sabbath School Quarterly, Pacific Press Publishing Company, Oakland, California, January 1, 1904, 25, 26.

3 What is the character of the king brought to view? How was this king to rule? What king of Grecia fulfilled these specifications? Daniel 11:3.

note: “Truly it may be said of Alexander the Great that he did according to his will. His entire reign was one of unparalleled conquest, and at the age of thirty-two years he is said to have conquered the whole of the then known world, and to have wept because there was not another world to conquer.” Quarterly, 26.

“As God brought Nebuchadnezzar and Cyrus in direct contact with his people, that they might know the God of heaven, so he permitted Alexander to learn of him. While that conqueror was passing from Tyre, after its surrender, toward Gaza, which guards the entrance into Egypt, he stopped at Jerusalem. . . . The high priest, Juddas, had a dream in which he was bidden to go out to meet Alexander, arrayed in his priestly garments . . . .

“[Alexander] accompanied the priest to the temple at Jerusalem, where the sacrifices were explained. Moreover, the prophecies of Daniel concerning the rise and fall of Babylon and conquests of Medo-Persia, and its subsequent fall and the rise of a third empire were explained. . . . The mighty conqueror was in the presence of the Spirit of God . . . . Would he bow in submission, and let God conquer him?

“Alexander acknowledged God, but left Jerusalem and pushed forward in battle. Gaza fell. . . . [In Egypt], to gratify a selfish pride, he had himself proclaimed son of Jupiter Ammon. He who might have become a son of God chose rather to be called the son of Jupiter.” Haskell, 186, 187.

4 What was to happen to Alexander’s kingdom? How was it to be divided? Was the kingdom to fall into the hands of Alexander’s posterity? How was this fulfilled? Daniel 11:4.

note: “Within twenty years of Alexander’s death it is said that there was not one of his posterity left, and his kingdom was divided toward the four winds, between his four leading generals.” Quarterly, 26.

“Four notable horns were to come up toward the four winds of heaven in place of the great horn that was broken. These were Cassander, who had Greece and the neighboring countries; Lysimachus, who had Asia Minor; Seleucus, who had Syria and Babylon, and from whom came the line of kings known as the ‘Seleucidæ,’ so famous in history; and Ptolemy, son of Lagus, who had Egypt, and from whom sprang the ‘Lagidæ.’ These held dominion toward the four winds of heaven. Cassander had the western parts, Lysimachus the northern regions, Seleucus the eastern countries, and Ptolemy the southern portion of the empire.” Uriah Smith, The Prophecies of Daniel and the Revelation, Southern Publishing Association, Nashville, Tennessee, 1944, 155.

5 Of these four divisions of Alexander’s kingdom, which one was the kingdom of the south? What is said of the king of the south? What is said of one of Alexander’s princes? Which one of Alexander’s princes soon became so strong as to possess three out of the four original divisions of the empire? Daniel 11:5.

note: “In b.c. 281, Lysimachus was slain in battle, and Seleucus annexed all of his dominion; and as Lysimachus had previously conquered the territory assigned to Cassander, this left Seleucus ruler of three of the four portions of the original division of Alexander’s kingdom.” Quarterly, 26.

6 What two powers then became “the king of the south” and the “king of the north”?

note: “From this point [verse 5] on through much of the chapter [Daniel 11], the prophecy focuses on the two kingdoms emerging from Alexander’s empire . . . . These were Syria, ruled by the Seleucids, and Egypt, ruled by the Ptolemies. From the geographical standpoint of Palestine, the former was north, and the latter, south. The original Greek translation, in fact, has ‘king of Egypt’ for ‘king of the south’; also verse 8 points to Egypt as king of the south. A similar designation can be demonstrated from historical sources.” Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 4, 866.

“The successive rulers of that territory of the north, which fell under the dominion of Seleucus, are referred to in this prophecy as “the king of the north,” while Egypt is called “the king of the south.” Quarterly, 26.

7 Read Daniel 11:6–14. In those times, about b.c. 200, who were to stand up against Egypt, the king of the south? What new power is introduced in this line of prophecy? Verse 14.

note: “ ‘And in those times [about b.c. 203] there shall many [Antiochus Magnus, king of Syria; Philip, king of Macedon; and many of the provinces which had revolted from Egypt] stand up against the king of the south [Egypt]; also the robbers [breakers] of thy people [Rome] shall exalt themselves [rear her head among the nations of earth] to establish the vision [destined to exert a mighty influence among the nations of earth in fulfilment of the prophecy till the end of time]; but they shall fall [be broken up into many kingdoms], and finally be “destroyed and given to the burning flame.” Daniel 7:11’ ” Quarterly, 26.

8 Where was this rising power of Rome to stand, and what destruction was to be accomplished by his hand? Daniel 11:16.

note: “In b.c. 63, Pompey, the Roman general, demolished the walls of Jerusalem, transferred several cities from the jurisdiction of Judea to that of Coel-Syria, and imposed tribute upon the Jews. Thus was Jerusalem placed by conquest in the hands of that power which was to hold ‘the glorious land’ in its iron grasp till it had utterly consumed it.” Quarterly, 26.

9 The history of what Roman ruler fulfilled the events of Daniel 11:19?

note: “ ‘Then he [Julius Cæsar] shall turn his face toward the fort of his own land [Rome]; but he shall stumble and fall [assassinated by Brutus and Cassius and other conspirators, b.c. 44], and not be found.’ ” Quarterly, 26.

“Cæsar as a general stood in a position to accomplish for the fourth kingdom what Nebuchadnezzar, Cyrus, and Alexander had done for the former three, but we have no record that he even acknowledged God as a ruler of nations. He was fascinated and corrupted by the queen of Egypt.” Haskell, 212.

10 Who succeeded Julius Cæsar? How is he designated in Daniel 11:20? What Roman emperor justly earned the title of “a raiser of taxes”? Luke 2:1. How is the death of Augustus referred to in the prophecy?

note: “ ‘Then shall stand up [reign] in his [Julius Cæsar’s] estate a raiser of taxes [Augustus Cæsar, see Luke 2:1] in the glory of the kingdom [the ‘Augustan Age,’ an expression commonly used to denote the golden age of Roman history]; but within few days he shall be destroyed, neither in anger, nor in battle.’ Eighteen years after the taxing brought to view, seeming but a ‘few days’ to the distant view of the prophet, Augustus Cæsar died peacefully in his own bed at Nola, whither he had gone to seek repose and health, a.d. 14, in the seventy-sixth year of his age.” Quarterly, 26.

“All that the sacred record gives concerning Augustus, the man who held universal sway, is that he was a raiser of taxes when the kingdom was at the height of its glory, and that after a reign of a few days, or years, he should end his career in peace. He had unconsciously been instrumental in preparing the way for the Prince of peace, and having done that, he passed from the scene.” Haskell, 215.

11 Who succeeded Augustus Cæsar as emperor of Rome? How were his character and reign foretold in Daniel 11:21?

note: “ ‘And in his [Augustus Cæsar’s] estate shall stand up [reign] a vile person [Tiberius Cæsar], to whom they [the people of Rome] shall not give the honor of the kingdom; but he shall come in peaceably, and obtain the kingdom by flatteries.’

“It was through the flatteries of his mother, Livia, that Tiberius reached the throne. But the citizens of Rome never gave to him the respect and ‘honor of the kingdom,’ due to an upright and faithful sovereign.

“ ‘Augustus rested his last hopes on Tiberius. It is almost superfluous to enumerate the unworthy successors of Augustus. Their unparalleled vices, and the splendid theater upon which they were acted, have saved them from oblivion. The dark, unrelenting Tiberius, the furious Caligula, the feeble Claudius, the profligate and cruel Nero, the beastly Vitellius, and the timid, inhuman Domitian, are condemned to everlasting infamy. Rome groaned beneath an unremitting tyranny, which exterminated the ancient families of the republic, and was fatal to almost every virtue and every talent that arose in that unhappy period. Under the reign of these monsters the slavery of the Romans was accomplished with peculiar circumstances.’—Gibbon.” Quarterly, 26.

12 What note does the prophecy in Daniel 11:22 make of the death of Tiberius Cæsar? Who else was to be cut off during the period of the reign of Tiberius? Daniel 11:22.

note: “Most of the life of the Saviour was spent during the reign of Tiberius, the successor of Augustus, whom Gabriel described to Daniel as a ‘vile person.’ History substantiates the description. He was not a direct heir to the throne, and he was never honored by his subjects. . . . The Jews were bitterly oppressed, and as they knew the time was near for the appearance of a Saviour, they placed all their hopes upon a temporal king, one who should break the yoke of Rome and establish for them a separate kingdom. A few, perhaps, but only a few divined the spiritual nature of the promise of a Messiah.” Haskell, 216.

“It was when Tiberius reigned (a.d. 14–37), and upon the order of his procurator of Judea, Pontius Pilate, that Jesus was crucified, in the year a.d. 31.” Commentary, vol. 4, 870.

These lessons are adapted from International Sabbath School Quarterly, Pacific Press Publishing Company, Oakland, California, January 1, 1904.